It Takes a Village to Restore a Watershed

volunteer-city-heightsThe Pueblo Watershed is full of diversity in every form possible.  Each neighborhood that stretches along Chollas Creek includes different ethnicities, religions, cultures, music and food.  Whether you’re crossing from North Park to City Heights, or South Park to Barrio Logan, traveling a few blocks in any direction brings you to a completely different community.

Just like the diversity of the people, the watershed encompasses all kinds of ecological communities.  Salt marshes and tidal creeks near San Diego Bay transition to riparian streams which spread into coastal sage scrub and chaparral communities in the finger canyons.  And to me, the true beauty of this watershed is how it provides pockets of nature for the communities to enjoy.  The Pueblo Watershed is very densely populated, and the creeks and canyons provide pockets of nature for tons of people to enjoy.

Because it’s such a densely populated watershed, the creeks and canyons are threatened by trash, polluted water, invasive plants and even illegal activities. The canyons often provide cover for drug use, homeless encampments and gang violence.

walk-watershedOn February 5, more than 300 community members volunteered for the 3rd annual Walk the Watershed. Volunteers took educational tours to learn about the local ecology and volunteered for a variety of projects including cleaning out over 1000 pounds of trash, planting native plants, removing invasive plants and creating a rainwater capture system for the local elementary school. The event wrapped up with a tamale lunch, an address from Councilmember Tony Young and a dance performance from local students.

The event was a huge success, and like the diversity that makes up the watershed, it took a diverse group of community organizations coming together to have such a positive impact.  We partnered and planned the event with Ocean Discovery Institute, Elementary Institute of Science, Outside the Lens, Transcendance, San Diego Canyonlands and the City Heights Canyon and Community Alliance.  We had a bunch of community groups that brought students and volunteers from throughout the watershed.

The event wouldn’t be possible without the support of all the funders. For us, we owe a huge thanks to Think Blue, City of San Diego and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.